The Nationals, according to Ken Rosenthal and other sources, have agreed to terms with RHP Dan Haren of the Angels. In the one-year deal, Haren will accept a $3.5M buyout from Anaheim, and make $13M more as a member of the Nationals.
Haren, 32, has a career average of 7.6 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9, and fits the mold of the Nationals current staff. His average of 187 IP per season doesn’t take into account a stint on the DL last year, and he has 7 seasons over 200IP, and 3 seasons over 200 strikeouts.
Haren would likely be the number five starter in the Nats’ rotation, following Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, and Ross Detwiler. It’s hard to see this as anything but an upgrade over Edwin Jackson, who departed as a free agent after the 2012 season. The deal is still pending a physical, which will happen in the near future.
As the Winter Meetings continue in Nashville, the Nationals still have a few other issues to resolve: a contract to return Adam LaRoche to 1st Base for 2-3 years, where to put Michael Morse now that there isn’t an outfield job for him any longer, and what they’ll do for a left-handed arm out of the bullpen. Though the Nationals did sign southpaw Zach Duke to a new contract, they may want to also bring back Sean Burnett. It is said that Burnett’s current desire is a 4-year contract, which is likely a bit more than the Nationals would want to hold.
We’ll know more in the coming days about LaRoche and Morse, and that’s likely to be a bit of a Sophie’s Choice for the Nationals and their fans. Both have made significant contributions on and off the field, and losing one will be painful.